Matching Grant #1 is Fulfilled: on to Round #2!

We raced through Round #1 of the No Fish Poop Matching Grant to help fund our legal opposition to the permit for a fish farm located at the old Grayling Fish Hatchery.  Another anonymous donor has stepped up and offered $10,000 more in matching funds!  We’re racing toward that goal now.  This has been a humbling experience to say the least. Huge thanks to those that stepped up for the first NFP Grant. We need A LOT to make this happen — it starts with all of us saying no to a permit that aims to treat the Au Sable like a septic field.

August 25, 2014 John L. Russell

Here’s how to do it:

1. Mail check to:

Anglers of the Au Sable, PO Box 200, Grayling, MI  49738


2. Donate online:


Go to “One-Time Donation”.  In the box entitled “If you would like this gift to go towards a certain cause The Anglers are working on , please note below” type “FISH FARM MATCH”


Watch this video or check out the Anglers of the Au Sable’s new website (, andlearn about the fish farm and what a bad idea it is


We think the idea of a fish farm on the Au Sable is a bad joke, the punchline being that it will provide a couple of jobs, as opposed to the hundreds that rely on a healthy wild trout fishery.  The technology does exist for it to be done cleanly.  But the permit the state granted won’t require it be done cleanly at all.   Not even close.  It will instead be run like a backwoods septic system.  Look at it this way, if a cabin owner wanted to install a septic system like the fish farm has, they would NEVER get permitted.  This double standard is striking.

August 25, 2014 John L. Russell

Here’s how to do it:

1. Mail check to:

Anglers of the Au Sable, PO Box 200, Grayling, MI  49738


2. Donate online by CLICKING HERE then click the box titled “Hatchery Litigation Donation”. 


Watch this video or check out the Anglers of the Au Sable’s new website (, and learn about the fish farm and what a bad idea it is

Julie Gates, 1959-2015

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to inform you that Julie Gates passed away last weekend after a long fight with cancer. Julie was a wonderful person and a great friend of anglers. She will be sorely missed and remembered with fondness and respect by all who knew her.

The funeral will be held on Saturday, November 7, at the Mt. Hope Lutheran Church, 905 I-75 Business Loop, in Grayling, Mi. The viewing will be at 10 a.m., with the funeral following at 11. There will also be a visitation at the Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home on Friday, November 6, from 5-9 p.m. The address is 1108 W. North Down River Road, also in Grayling.

An obituary and other details will be available on November 3, at

We miss you, Julie.

Tom Baird
Anglers of the Au Sable

Please watch this very well done video on the fish farm.

Click the title to be taken to the video.

Riverkeepers: It’s Not a Hatchery — It’s a Fish Farm

Built in 1914 and closed by the DNR in the 1960s, the Grayling Fish Hatchery existed as a quaint tourist attraction in Grayling — until recently when state officials granted a permit allowing Harrietta Hills Trout Farm to raise 300,000 pounds of fish annually. Reaction in river country came swiftly.

Joseph Hemming, attorney for the Anglers of the AuSable, says the group sees potential damage done by the fish farm’s release of fish waste and uneaten food as the biggest threat ever faced by the AuSable River. Anglers of the AuSable and the Sierra Club have filed appeals to the permit. AOTA intends to establish baseline numbers as it installs water quality monitors upstream and downstream from the old Hatchery.

In this video, Hemming, along with David Smith, of the AuSable River Property Owner’s Association; Josh Greenberg, of Gates AuSable Lodge; and Andy Partlo, co-owner of the Old AuSable Fly Shop, discuss the issues around the potential damage to one of the country’s top recreational rivers in this video.

For a deeper dive into the issues, listen to the 35-minute Trout Radio segment on the Home Page as the four interviewees state the case for anglers, boaters, property and business owners who treasure a healthy river.

Fish Farm court case is heating up. Latest update from Joe Hemming, AOTA first VP


As you know, Anglers is totally committed to contesting the permit as issued to Dan Vogler and Harrietta Hills Trout Farm to operate and raise 300,000 pounds of fish in the old Grayling Fish Hatchery.  As a non-profit organization, so dependent on its membership, it is obviously critical that we keep our membership apprised of the status of the fish farm litigation.

A second pre-hearing phone conference was conducted with the Administrative Law Judge on September 29.  At that time, the dates for the contested hearing regarding the permit were scheduled.  The Judge has scheduled this hearing to take place in Lansing on February 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, the 24th and 25th  — seven hearing dates in all.  The hearing will involve many witnesses and experts and yes, lawyers.  The importance of this case cannot be overemphasized.  As many have been quick to point out, this is one of the biggest threats, if not the biggest threat, to the Au Sable River that anyone can remember.

Together with the hearing dates, the Administrative Law Judge scheduled many cutoff dates for motions, responses to motions, listing of legal issues, filing of witness and exhibit lists, etc.  With all the moving parts and scheduling dates and players involved, it is a carefully tuned and choreographed series of events in the court schedule.  The issues are complex, the nstakeholders are passionately committed and the stakes are high.  And yes it is costly.  Anglers has spent over $100,000 to date on contesting this permit and we have yet to walk into a courtroom!  Between the costs of lawyers, various experts,  water studies, records, etc., it is easy to see why this litigation is so expensive.  Going through a court process is a long and often winding process and outcomes are not guaranteed. But one thing you can be assured of is that the Anglers will be there every step of the way.

But we need your help.  Anglers has kicked its fundraising efforts into high gear to help finance this fight.  If you have already given, thank you.  Please consider giving again.  We are nearly to the end of the calendar year, a perfect time for a year-end contribution to our favorite non-profit organization, Anglers of the Au Sable.  Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are right around the corner and a donation to the Anglers for this fish farm fight would be the perfect gift for your fly-fishing friend, partner or loved one.  Again, thank you for all of your assistance. Anglers will continue to keep you updated.

Planned trout factory on the Au Sable threatens our river. We need your financial help TODAY.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has agreed to a permit allowing Harrietta Hills Trout Farm LLC, to take over the small scale fish hatchery on the East Branch of Au Sable.

The permit lets the 20,000 pound/year tourist attraction grow to a 300,000 pound/year fish factory – the biggest in Michigan. It will create two new jobs – and endanger the economy of the entire region.

The DEQ permit would allow:
•    Massive pollution from fish farm, which can cause algae blooms that reduce dissolved oxygen and ultimately impacts the fishery.
•    Increased risk of whirling disease.
•    Fish escapement.
•    No financial responsibility required of the trout factory. Any environmental catastrophe will be cleaned up at tax payer expense, not the trout farm.

Anglers is leading the fight.

Click here to download a printable flyer to share with friends, family, and fellow anglers

Here’s what could happen if this permit is allowed to stand:

A Case Study: Big Spring Creek, PA

We’ve invested more than $100,000 over the past two years.
It will cost $150,000 more to win this battle. And our experts say we can win!

We need your help – today!
Please make your check of any amount to: Anglers of the Au Sable

Please send your donation to:
Anglers of the Au Sable
P O Box 200
Grayling, MI 49738

Or give your donation to any Angler’s board member .

Or donate online. 


The Au Sable River and its healthy wild trout thank you!

Here are a few other recent reports on the issue of fish farming that will affect the Great Lakes:
Battle brewing over fish farming in Great Lakes
Brian Burroughs Interview (Go to September 15th edition)

Anglers of the Au Sable receives top award from Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Detroit, Michigan: Anglers of the Au Sable has received the “Advocate of the Year” award from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, for the organization’s long tradition of standing up to challenges to the Au Sable’s rivers waters and wildlife.

The award, accepted by Anglers’ President Tom Baird, recognizes the group for “tenaciously defending the waters and wildlife of the mighty Au Sable River for almost three decades, for standing up to state and local policy decisions that threaten the Au Sable river and many other great Michigan waterways, and for being leaders in the fight to protect the clean fresh water that draws millions to Michigan every year.”

017(1)“We are honored to accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of members of Anglers of the Au Sable and in the spirit of our founder, Rusty Gates, who never tired of fighting to keep the river and its environs clean and suitable for trout,” said Baird after receiving the award Oct. 2. “This is also a tribute to our most recent past president, Bruce Pregler, and board members who have spent hours in tireless and often unrecognized work battling to preserve the special place that is the Au Sable River valley.”

Anglers of the Au Sable has fought court battles to protect the river and its headwaters against oil companies, worked with state officials to provide information that blocked a planned expansion of Camp Grayling that would have harmed the river, was recently instrumental in persuading state officials not to withdraw plans to allow oil drilling beneath the “Holy Waters” section and Hartwick Pines, and today is pressing for strong anti-pollution standards to prevent damage to the river and trout from a proposed fish hatchery.

“We have a history of working to preserve the Au Sable for trout fishing – and the economic boost that comes to the region because of the sports anglers who come from around the state, across the nation and all over the world to enjoy our blue ribbon trout stream,” said Baird. “The work continues – and the state is better because of Anglers and groups and companies like it recognized by the League of Conservation Voters.”

Also recognized by the League were Ford as Business of the Year and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Rep. John Dingell, who received lifetime achievement awards.

Anglers of the Au Sable is a membership organization created to preserve the pristine waters of the Au Sable River and its headwaters for the enjoyment of all. It has more than 700 members from across the nation, and is open to any person committed to the long-term conservation of the Au Sable watershed.